10 Tips to book an Airbnb like a Pro

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Airbnb has become synonymous with affordable & unique housing in the last few years. You could even call it the Uber of short-time apartment rentals. With options throughout the world, from Berlin to Walvis Bay, Namibia, you’ll probably find an Airbnb somewhere in your area.

These days there are plenty of possibilities on where you can spend your nights on your holidays or travels. Hotels, hostels, camping, campers, couch surfing, the list goes on and on, in a lot of cases though, renting a property or room on Airbnb can be the most affordable or convenient option. Especially when you follow a couple of tips to book an Airbnb like a pro!

Why do we like Airbnb?

It’s no surprise that this is our favorite way to spend the night in a foreign city or country.
Mainly because we can have our own space & make ourselves at home.

This also happens to be, by far, the most recommended method we suggest for anyone looking for somewhere to stay over for a night or more.

Properties are all unique, meaning, you could find some of the most interesting properties, or an apartment with such a great position you’ll end up seeing a lot more of an area than you normally would have anticipated.

I spend a day at most, exploring the area around a normal hotel or campsite. When I have an Airbnb booking though, it’s generally planned to be somewhere interesting. Otherwise, the host generally has some great tips on places within walking distance (and great places to take the dogs for a walk).

This means we end up taking a walk or exploring the area, whenever other commitments aren’t in place (Like visiting the places and landmarks that brought us there in the first place!).

On one of our trips to Northern Germany, we didn’t plan on staying near the Baltic-North Sea canal in Germany, but thanks to our Airbnb we got to experience this impressive canal whilst catering as a great place for walks with the dogs when they still had some energy left in the tank… so pretty often!

We also often had amazing hosts, where they surprised us with that little extra. Like on one of our trips to Italy where we got an out-of-the-oven freshly made traditional cake from our great host. Or waking up to find some fresh Italian Lemons on our doorstep, just to name a few.

Be flexible with the dates for your trip

I cannot stress this enough and this is why I’ve put it at number 1. (The rest are in no particular order unless said so, in which case, ignore this. 😉)

Hotels and campsites tend to have many rooms and sites available. An Airbnb is generally only a single unit, meaning that once a certain date is booked, it’s gone for that date.

Pooooof! Gone.

When looking for an Airbnb, check out a set of different dates to best find the most affordable or convenient property.

Book your trip early

Much like the previous point, if one night out of your range of dates gets booked whilst you wait around, you will lose that property for that night, at the least. Book early to make sure you get the best property for your budget.

I tend to book 1 or 2 months in advance when it’s possible, although for busy areas you may want to book even earlier. You don’t want to lose the perfect place due to procrastination.

Zuri & Mischa at the Nord-Ostsee Channel
Zuri & Mischa at the Nord-Ostsee Channel. Zuri just realized he shouldn’t drink salt water.

Check the reviews

You’ve found the perfect property; the description and pictures seem like one out of a fairy-tale. It’s only 5 minutes from where you want to be. So, what are you waiting for, make that booking.

WAIT! What’s that?

The reviews say the apartment is next to a busy children’s violin school, has windows facing a busy railway, or the owner has an overly friendly cat on the property that you happen to be allergic to.

Reviews are a great place to look for a neutral opinion from people that have actually experienced what you’re looking to book. Of course, the host will paint the best picture they can. Whilst the majority are honest and forthcoming with any negatives a property may have, there are always a few bad seeds in the bunch, making reviews a great point of reference.

Read the full reviews though, as one person’s 3 stars could be another’s 5. Some guests may give negatives to some things that do not matter to you. Which is all the more reason to be thorough when making a reservation

P.S. To all the hosts and future hosts. Remember to ask your guests to leave a review after their stay and if they have any problems to contact you. This will keep your property rated appropriately and more people will consider your place.

Keep all of the costs in mind

Whilst the nightly accommodation is quite clear to see and can be easily sorted, on Airbnb there are a few additional costs you may run into.
The service charge for Airbnb is not included in the nightly stay fee. This charge ranges between 6-12% depending on the total, and you’ll find it calculated when you’ve put in your dates.

Other costs to look out for can be a cleaning fee and additional guest fees. These you can also find once you’ve put in your dates.

You may also run into an additional fee for pets, or to use a possible washing machine on the premises.
If you’re traveling with pets, I always make a point to write the host first. Even if it says they accept pets. Just to make sure they are ok with the clumsy, loud, and fluffy things we call our dogs.

Never try to make contact outside of Airbnb

The service fee can seem like a large amount if you’re staying for long or in a high-priced property. Do NOT try to bypass it by attempting to go around Airbnb though. The platform helps keep your funds safe from possible fraud and other suspicious activity.

Additional Bonus

If you know of any friends or family that are going on a trip and haven’t made any booking yet, send them an invite from your profile and you can secure an additional bonus if they stay over at an Airbnb property.

Book a longer stay

Some properties offer substantial discounts for longer stays. I’ve come across some offering as much as a 25% discount on a stay lasting a week or two, and even a 50% discount on a stay lasting a month!
Of course, this all depends on how much time you have, but if you can, this can save you quite a bit.

Share a property if traveling in a group

If you’re traveling with a group of friends, family, or in a travel group, consider booking a large place and splitting the bill. This can save everyone some cash on the trip. 😉

Book a private room

If you do not need all the space offered from an entire home, then book a room! This is especially useful if you’re traveling alone or just need somewhere to spend the night whilst you’re out and about.

To find private rooms, just search for the area you want to stay in. Then from the list of options, check the box saying ‘private room’, and uncheck the box saying ‘entire home’.

Have I mentioned the best part yet? You can save a LOT!

Private rooms can be 50% (sometimes 50+%) cheaper than entire properties

Make use of the ‘Contact Host’ feature

This may seem like something obvious, but so many people do not like to communicate with other people about services for whatever reason (myself included). The ‘Contact Host’ button is such a valuable addition to Airbnb it needs to be used!

If you have any concerns or questions relating to the property, parking, the area, pets, kids, groceries, anything, and everything, get in touch with the host before (and after) booking your Airbnb. All of the places I’ve stayed at, and that of where my friends and family have stayed, have had friendly and helpful hosts.